Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review

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I preface every review with the same disclosure. I am not a professional. I do not shoot test charts. I do not try every lens with every camera. All opinions are my own, and are only based upon my own experiences with the gear. I haven’t had a ton of gear, or all of the expensive gear. I won’t list every specification or test for every specification. My review is not meant for professionals – if you are a professional, you shouldn’t need a review from an amateur. The information below is simply my own observations while doing normal photography, and is for other car enthusiasts and amateurs like myself.

Image Quality

Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AF-S
Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AF-S

The 28mm f/1.8G AF-S is a fast aperture prime with better contrast  and sharpness than previous Nikon offerings in its price range, and color rendition seems to be accurate.

All of my f/1.8G lenses (28/50/85) have around the same contrast and color rendition, and all of them are pretty sharp.

I’ve shot this lens a lot at f/2-2.8, in the thousands of images. A lot of my car show shots are done with this lens. The DOF and bokeh are ok, but they aren’t spectacular.

Autofocus is quick and precise. In thousands upon thousands of shots, it has always been accurate. It does not hunt for focus – it gets it quick.

Lens flare is well controlled by the coating on the glass, keeping flare to a minimum.

Bottom line – Sharpness is better than the other lenses in its range, contrast is good, and color rendition is good.

Build Quality

The lens is made of plastic, and does not have the solid metal build quality that the previous Nikon models had. That said, it does seem to be made of a fairly strong plastic, and not likely to break.

The glass seems to be of excellent quality, and the mount is metal. The lens comes with a bayonet style hood, which reverses when you want to store the lens. The manual focus ring is huge and very easy to grip and turn. Since it is AF-S, you can just grab the focus ring at any time and override the focus manually.

Filter ring is 67mm, and the lens works well with CPLs and NDs.

Alternatives to the 28mm

Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S

If you have the money, you can get the 24mm and shoot wider and faster. It is by far a better lens, but much more expensive. For me it wasn’t an option. While I would love it, it is just out of my price range currently.

Older Versions

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AF-D

I’ve never shot this lens, but since it only goes to 2.8, I never wanted it, as I wanted to be able to shoot in low light and have shallow DOF.

Nikon 28mm f/1.4 AF-D

This is an older lens, and I haven’t shot it. It might be great, but I have no experience with it.

Other Brands

Sigma 35mm f/1.4

The Sigma is not able to go as wide as the 28mm, but it has a faster aperture and better bokeh. It is a good match with an 85mm, so if you don’t need the width of the 28mm, then it is a great choice. I actually would like to add one of these to my collection later, but I still need the 28mm until I could afford a fast 24mm. 35mm just isn’t wide enough at some of the places that I want to shoot at.


If you are a wedding photographer, or shoot mainly portraits, you probably should get the Sigma 35mm. If you need to be able to go wider than 28mm, then you have to spend a lot to go to 24mm.
If you want to have a simple 3 prime setup, then the 28mm from Nikon is a great choice that is affordable.

With what I shoot – a lot of car shows – I still find that the 28mm is not wide enough when there are a lot of people around. I still find that I carry my 17-35mm with me to all of the more populated events, so that I can get close enough to keep people from getting between myself and my subject. The 28mm works in most situations, but sometimes I still need to get a little wider.

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